Pieter VAN BLOEMEN (Antwerp, 1657 - Antwerp, 1720)
A student of the battle painter Simon Johannes van Douw in Antwerp, Pieter van Bloemen entered the city’s painter’s guild of Saint Luke in 1674, at the age of just seventeen. In 1684 he is recorded in Lyon, where he was joined by his younger brother and pupil, Jan Frans van Bloemen. (Another younger brother, Norbert, was also trained by Pieter.) The following year Pieter and Jan Frans van Bloemen travelled together to Rome, where Pieter spent several years. He is documented between 1685 and 1692 as a member of the Schildersbent, the association of Dutch and Flemish artists in Rome, and was given the nickname ‘Standaart’, probably because of the flags and banners that often appear in his paintings of military caravans and encampments. On his return to Antwerp in 1694 he rose to become director of the academy there five years later. Pieter van Bloemen’s landscape paintings, as well as his military and genre subjects, often show the particular influence of a painter of the previous generation, Philips Wouwermans. Like him, many of van Bloemen’s Italianate landscapes are dominated by groups of animals – most often, beautifully observed horses - placed at the centre of the composition. Indeed, van Bloemen was particularly admired as an animal painter, and was often asked to paint animals in the compositions of other artists, including those of his brother Jan Frans.